Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Importance of Cultural Factors in Causing Social Class Difference in Achievement

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Cultural factors play a huge part in causing social class differences in educational achievement, these factors include things such as cultural deprivation and capital which stem from a young age and influence achievement. Cultural deprivation refers to being deprived of basic norms, values, attitudes, language and experiences needed to do well in school. Middle class are the type that typically are not culturally deprived as from a young age middle class parents would read intellectual books, buy educational toys and take their children to theatres etc. Research by sociologists has been carried out distributing 450 questionnaires to pupils over four schools to test cultural deprivation. The questionnaires asked questions about reading and TV viewing habits. The conclusion was that those that read complex fiction and watched documentaries for example developed a greater vocabulary and knowledge, thus doing better in school. However, working class parents often can’t support their children in the same way due to material deprivation, and therefore their children are more culturally deprived, this clearly shows that cultural factors are a main cause for social class differences in educational achievement. Use of language between different social classes is also under cultural deprivation and can cause educational achievement differences. Bernstein distinguishes between two speech codes that he associates with two social classes, one being the restricted code, which he commonly associates with the working class where they use one word answers or hand gestures to communicate. By contrast the elaborated code which he associates with middle class used complete, more complex and grammatical sentences, clearly serving them better than working class in education. Differing attitudes and values is also a cause of class difference in achievement and is a type of
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